If you think you would like to start a meditation group, reading our book on starting groups, A Pearl of Great Price, by Fr. Laurence, is a very comprehensive guide for your discernment. If you decide to start one, you may email Gene Bebeau (email@example.com) for an application to have your group listed and receive mailings that we provide to group leaders.
Fr. Laurence’s Advent Reflections
The beginning of the Christian year today is happily out of sync with the secular year that begins in the West on January 1, and in the East, on their lunar calendar some weeks or months later. Most of our time these days is spent in a secular zone - the kind of time we get paid for and experience as a source of stress. Somewhere we lost what earlier eras took for granted - the existence of another layer of time, sacred time, that interweaves with the secular and prevents it from becoming too obsessed with materialistic concerns.
Our modern idea of paid holidays is a result of the loss of sacred time which once gave people plenty of days off, celebrations and pilgrimages, to provide the variety that life needs to keep us in balance. But, of course, there are advantages to secularization and technology. Many more children and mothers survive childbirth than in the pre-modern era and there are many reasons to celebrate the new ways of communication that we have achieved technologically and socially.
But the loss of sacred time has damaged us and alienated us from an essential part of our own selves which is the source of wholeness, balance and compassion. Its recovery is a priority for our time. Meditation rehumanizes us and our social institutions precisely because it reconnects us to this dimension of reality.
What difference does the awakening of this dimension of time make? It shows us that what we are waiting for is already here. And, in this season of Advent, we remember that the formation of the reality of Christ in us happens over time. And so each day is surprisingly new, and yet our lives as a whole have a wondrous unity.
Those who are religious and go to church may experience, to some degree, this dimension of sacred time. But the daily practice of meditation deepens and integrates it. For those who have no religious aspects to their lives the times of meditation are all the more necessary. We learn through the faithful stillness of waiting in meditation that what we are moving towards is already moving towards us.